Millennial Risk for Carpal Tunnel

One thing I dread ever having to experience is carpal tunnel syndrome. But considering how much us millennials use our hands everyday to type, text, and play video games, I’m concerned the risk for carpal tunnel may be higher than what it has been for previous generations.

Carpal Tunnel syndrome is a medical condition in which the median nerve in your forearm and hand gets pressured at the wrist. This causes hand numbness, dull pain and tingling, loss of grip strength, poor fine motor skills. All of those things would make life as we millennials know it very difficult, because we are so reliant on our hands to function in or day to day lives.

Risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome include sex (females are more prone to it), workplace conditions, age, fitness, and hand posture. People repetitively use their hands in a way that flexes the wrist and uses poor hand posture are at a higher risk. That means poor typing posture, and holding a cell phone could easily be risk factors that lead to onset of the syndrome. Although carpal tunnel is treatable, it can require physical therapy, anti-inflammatory and pain medications, or even surgery. 

As it stands today, only 3% of women and 2% of men actually develop carpal tunnel throughout the course of their lifetime. Carpal tunnel is also a disease more often associated with older adults as opposed to younger adults. However, as millennials age their risk factor for developing the syndrome increases.

Lack of fitness and obesity lead to a higher level of risk in developing the disease. Considering that obesity rates have risen steadily over the past several decades, based on the risk factor of just obesity alone we as a generation have cause to concern over a higher percentage of people developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

Although no data on the frequency of carpal tunnel among millennials has been collected yet due to carpal tunnel being a syndrome that is usually onset later in life, I think its a safe bet to expect the rates to rise from the respective rates of 3% among women and 2% among men over the next couple decades. Unfortunately, we live in a world reliant on internet connectivity via devies we need to se our hands for. That coupled with unhealthy lifestyle choices will lead to inevitable consequences down the road.


5 thoughts on “Millennial Risk for Carpal Tunnel

  1. Michael Curran

    This post was as interesting as it was nerve racking. Being a part of that generation myself, I am at risk for developing Carpal Tunnel. For our generation to be so young and develop it, it is only going to get progressively worse with time. An eye opening read, to say the very least.

  2. mzm6020

    Carpal tunnel seems like it is a very serious epidemic that does not get much recognition. In fact, I never even heard of the condition until recently. Technology has left the human race with great amounts of benefits, but there is a price to pay. The human body has not yet evolved to accommodate for the numerous physically demanding postures that technology prompts us to do. In accordance with Carpal Tunnel, another very underrated postural problem is forward neck! this is when people spend so many hours looking down at their phone and on their computer, that their neck is not straight and it is placed forward. For more on forward neck look at this link!

  3. Zachary Jacob Himel

    This is definately something I fear heavily. After spending hours a day playing videogames and phone games, I always felt at risk to getting this disease. My mom has complained to me about having thumb pains from typing at work, I can only assume my time will come even sooner than hers did. Here is an article that gives ways to avoid and prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from happening to you!

  4. Jen Malespina

    This was a very intriguing yet also concerning post. Being a Millenial, it worries me that we are at a higher risk of developing Carpal Tunnel. It is true that we are constantly on our phones but I am confused because there had to have been worse things people have done in the past for their wrists than just holding a cell phone. Why would this put us at such a greater risk ? This was a great post but I am just left a little concerned.

  5. William Dever

    When I was in high school I would spend a lot of hours behind a computer screen playing click-intensive games for hours at a time. I could definitely begin to feel wrist pains and numbing after extended hours which would force me to stop because I did not want to get carpal tunnel. I used to watch people play video games at a professional level and it seems like a large amount have recently begun to talk about wrist problems from playing video games for over 10 hours a day, seven days a week. This article talks about an orthopedic hand surgeon who is helping pro video gamers with wrist injuries and making sure they get enough rest.

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